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Bescom consumers flag high bills, blame digital meters

While many consumers expressed concerns over the use of new meters, Bescom denied any fault with them and vouched for their accuracy
Last Updated : 15 February 2023, 03:39 IST

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Scores of Bengalureans say their monthly electricity bills have spiked over the last few months, with the exasperated residents claiming that digital meters being installed by Bescom across the city are to blame.

Suresh (name changed), a resident of Rajajinagar, said his electricity bill has gone up by at least 30%.

“We are a family of three. Since all of us leave for work early in the morning and return only by evening, our power consumption is less,” he said. “All these years, our bill was between Rs 500 and Rs 600. However, since the installation of the digital meter, the bill has gone up to Rs 800-900.”

Then there is Rohit, a resident of RR Nagar, who said that the bill has gone up from Rs 850 to Rs 1,400 a month. “A marginal increase is acceptable. But such drastic increase is a financial burden on consumers,” he said.

While many consumers expressed concerns over the use of new meters, Bescom denied any fault with them and vouched for their accuracy.

Sources in Bescom said the utility has received at least 70,000 to 80,000 complaints in the last six months.

“There has been a constant increase in the number of complaints since the conversion exercise started. We have received complaints from at least 10% of consumers whose meters were replaced,” a senior Bescom official revealed.

So far, Bescom has converted close to 10 lakh electromechanical meters to digital electrostatic meters, and is working on replacing another seven lakh more meters in Bengaluru.

Officials claimed the meters, with their high precision, could be capturing what was “being left out earlier”.

“The digital meters provide us with an accurate reading and hence the electricity bill for a few consumers may have gone up. These meters record even minute consumption that was being left out earlier. However, owing to such consumption, the bill could go up only by 5% to 10%,” a senior Bescom official said.

Another official echoed the above-quoted official, saying the meters have the capacity to measure loads of close to 3kW.

“Earlier, consumers would have an approved load of 1 kW. Over the years, their maximum load would have increased owing to the use of more machines,” he explained.

“In such cases, the meters would not accurately record the additional load used. For instance, if those with an approved capacity of 1 kW are using up to 2.5 kW, the bill amount may easily go up by at least Rs 250.”

Officials stressed that meters were not recording wrong readings and urged the consumers to report such incidents to Bescom.

“They can raise a complaint with us. We will ensure that we visit the consumer, check the meter to see if there are any calibration errors,” the officials said.

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Published 14 February 2023, 18:48 IST

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